1999 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation
By: Representatives Fredericks, Dedeaux, Guice, Ishee, Janus, Peranich, Ryan, Simpson
House Bill 1687
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 58, LAWS OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF 1954, AS AMENDED, TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF HOTELS AND MOTELS AND TO REVISE THE POWERS OF THE HARRISON COUNTY TOURISM COMMISSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Chapter 58, Laws of the Extraordinary Session of 1954, as amended by Chapter 810, Local and Private Laws of 1966, as amended by Chapter 820, Local and Private Laws of 1972, as amended by Chapter 973, Local and Private Laws of 1979, as amended by Chapter 881, Local and Private Laws of 1980, as amended by Chapter 918, Local and Private Laws of 1990, as amended by Chapter 882, Local and Private Laws of 1991, as amended by Chapter 937, Local and Private Laws of 1995, is amended as follows:
Section 1. The Board of Supervisors of Harrison County, Mississippi, in its discretion, may levy a special ad valorem tax not in excess of one (1) mill upon all the taxable property within said county to provide funds for the Harrison County Tourism Commission for the purpose of advertising, promoting conventions, and bringing into favorable notice the opportunities, possibilities and tourism resources of said county.
Section 2. (1) For the purposes of providing funds to promote tourism and conventions in Harrison County, there is hereby levied and assessed against and shall be collected from every person, firm or corporation operating hotels or motels in Harrison County an assessment, in addition to all other taxes now imposed, which shall be equal to three percent (3%) of the gross proceeds from room rental of all such hotels or motels in Harrison County. Persons liable for the tax imposed herein shall add the amount of tax to the room rental and in addition thereto shall collect, insofar as practicable, the amount of the tax due by him from the person receiving the services or goods at the time of payment therefor.
(2) For the purposes of this act, the words "hotel" and "motel" shall mean a place of lodging that at any one (1) time will accommodate transient guests on a daily or weekly basis and that are known to the trade as such, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, time-share condominiums, tourist courts, rooming houses or other places where sleeping accommodations are furnished or offered for pay if more than ten (10) rooms are available for transient guests, excluding nursing homes or institutions for the aged or infirmed as defined in Section 43-11-1 and personal care homes. Hotels and motels with ten (10) or less rental units are exempt.
(3) Such tax shall be collected by and paid to the State Tax Commission on a form to be prescribed by the State Tax Commission in the same manner that state sales taxes are collected and paid; and the full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of the Mississippi Sales Tax Law shall apply as necessary for the implementation and administration of this act.
(4) On or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which collected, the proceeds of such tax, less three percent (3%) to be retained by the State Tax Commission to defray the costs of collection, shall be paid by the commission, as follows, for expenditure as authorized in this act:
(a) Two-thirds (2/3) of the proceeds shall be paid to the Harrison County Tourism Commission.
(b) One-third (1/3) of the proceeds shall be paid to the Board of Supervisors of Harrison County.
Section 3. The Harrison County Tourism Commission shall be composed of seven (7) members, appointed as hereinafter provided. The board of supervisors shall appoint two (2) members of the commission who are qualified electors of the City of Biloxi; two (2) members who are qualified electors of the City of Gulfport; one (1) member who is a qualified elector of the City of Pass Christian; one (1) member who is a qualified elector of the City of Long Beach; and one (1) member who is a qualified elector of the County of Harrison outside of the boundaries of the four (4) municipalities in the county. In the selection of commissioners, the board shall make every effort to select individuals who are knowledgeable of, or actively involved in, the tourism industry. The said commission shall be appointed within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this act, in the following manner:
(1) Two (2) members for one (1) year.
(2) Two (2) members for two (2) years.
(3) One (1) member for three (3) years.
(4) One (1) member for four (4) years.
(5) One (1) member for five (5) years.
The board shall draw lots to determine which of the seven (7) members of the commission shall be appointed for the various initial terms of office. Provided, however, that all subsequent appointments shall be made for five-year terms, except that the board shall appoint a member to fill a vacancy for the unexpired term only. Within sixty (60) days after the effective date of House Bill 1716, 1990 Regular Session, the board of supervisors shall appoint two (2) additional members to the Tourism Commission. The board of supervisors shall appoint one (1) member who is a qualified elector of the City of d'Iberville and one (1) member who is a qualified elector of the County of Harrison for a term of five (5) years. All subsequent appointments shall be for a term of five (5) years and an appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the unexpired term only. Before entering on the duties of the office each appointed member of the Tourism Commission shall enter into and give bond to be approved by the Secretary of State of the State of Mississippi in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) conditioned on the satisfactory performance of his duties. This bond's premium shall be paid from the Tourism Commission Fund. Such bond shall be payable to Harrison County and in the event of a breach thereof, suit may be brought by the county for the benefit of the Tourism Commission. The commission may authorize the payment of per diem not to exceed the uniform per diem rate provided in Section 25-3-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, to commission members for each day in the discharge of their official duties. Such per diem expenditures shall be included in the annual budget of the commission and shall be subject to approval of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors. The commission shall elect officers and adopt rules and regulations; and shall fix a regular meeting date, but may provide for special meetings. The commission shall keep minutes of its proceedings, as are necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this act. It is the intent of this enactment to supersede the Advisory Commission and those duties performed by the board of supervisors pursuant to Chapter 820, Local and Private Laws of 1972, with the commission herein created, and to provide for the orderly transfer of all duties and powers heretofore exercised by those bodies to the Harrison County Tourism Commission, which shall have the sole authority to budget and contract for expenditures for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 1979, subject to the approval of the board of supervisors as herein provided.
Section 4. Before the expenditures of funds allocated to it by this act, the Tourism Commission shall annually adopt a budget that will reflect the anticipated expenditures for promotion, advertising and operation. Such budget shall be subject to the approval of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors and shall comply with all the requirements of the general laws of the State of Mississippi covering the advertisement for bids and the expenditure of funds.
Section 5. The Harrison County Tourism Commission established hereunder shall have the authority to promote tourism and in this regard the commission is empowered:
(a) To receive and expend revenues from any sources including, but not limited to, private enterprise;
(b) To own, lease or contract for the use, purchase or lease of any real or personal property, including, but not limited to, furnishings, fixtures and any equipment useful and necessary in the promotion of tourism and convention business;
(c) To sell, convey or otherwise dispose of all or any part of its property and assets in accordance with general laws of the State of Mississippi providing for such disposal;
(d) To have and exercise all powers necessary or convenient to effect any and all of the purposes for which the commission is organized, and further, to appoint and employ individuals and agencies acting in its behalf for any and all of the aforementioned powers and responsibilities;
(e) To have and exercise all powers necessary and convenient to conduct the business of promoting and managing conventions and to carry out the purposes of the convention staff of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Commission by agreement between the two (2) commissions.
Section 6. The Advisory Commission, created and established under the provisions of Chapter 820, Local and Private Laws of 1972, shall be and the same is hereby abolished effective October 1, 1979, and the commissioners and all members, agents, representatives and employees of the said Advisory Commission and the Harrison County Board of Supervisors are required and directed to cooperate with the Harrison County Tourism Commission to effectuate an orderly transfer of its duties to that commission in accordance with this act, and to deliver to the Harrison County Tourism Commission all property, funds, money, accounts, records, etc., now in their possession, which were transferred to the board of supervisors pursuant to Chapter 820, Local and Private Laws of 1972, such delivery to be made not later than October 1, 1979, and where required, in such cases as real property, if any, the Chairman of the said Advisory Commission and the Secretary thereof or the President of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors are authorized, empowered and directed to make, execute and deliver in favor of the Harrison County Tourism Commission any bill of sale, deed or other document required to transfer title of any property transferred pursuant to Chapter 820, Local and Private Laws of 1972, which was held in the name of the County Advertising Commission. Nothing herein shall be construed to waive the rights of compelling such action by a writ of mandamus in accordance with the laws of Mississippi. Provided further, that on October 1, 1979, all rights of office of any of the commissioners of the Advisory Commission, its attorneys or agents, be and the same are hereby finally determined and ended, and its former employees shall serve at the pleasure of the Tourism Commission.
Section 7. The Board of Supervisors of Harrison County shall deposit the funds allocated to it by Section 2(4)(b) of this act into a special fund in the county treasury. Monies in the special fund shall be expended by the board of supervisors to pay the principal of and interest on up to Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00) of general obligation bonds issued by the county after the effective date of Senate Bill No. 3257, 1995 Regular Session, to defray the costs of expanding the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.